I believe one of the secrets to healthy eating is simply finding good food that you love to eat. It’s pretty straight forward really, but we tend to over think it. There are more gimmicks out now than ever before – which shake should you drink, which vitamins should you take, is gluten really bad for you, and the list goes on and on. I do my best to really stay away from any type of fads, and just eat whole foods with a balanced diet. In the past year, I have been able to eliminate all forms of artificial sweeteners from my diet, which for me, has been huge in the way I feel. I used to use it like crazy in my coffee, and wouldn’t bat an eye if I grabbed a Coke Zero or other no-calorie beverage. There are so many ways to use natural sweeteners to give you a sweet, great tasting treat, without the nasty chemicals. Here are a few ways I keep my food a little more fun!
If you have ever gone for coffee with me, then this is pretty obvious. Cinnamon is my absolute favorite spice. I don’t go a day without putting it in my coffee. It gives it the extra flavor in the morning that really hits the spot. I also love to put it in my peanut butter coffee protein smoothie. There is just something about it that just warms me to the core! Another great place for cinnamon is in oatmeal. Throw in some peanut butter and a banana, and you have one heck of a power breakfast!
With summer temperatures in full swing in Tampa, refreshing drinks are a must. Sometimes, water just doesn’t cut it, so I have to have something different. Rather than having a drink loaded with empty calories, I have been adding cucumbers to my water. You really only need a handful of slices for a fairly decent amount of water, and the taste is so light and crisp! This can done with any type of fruit really – strawberries, pineapple, lemons, limes, oranges – you name it, and it is great for infused water.
This, my friends, is my new secret cooking weapon. I love the taste of fresh ginger in my food. It tastes amazing, and is fantastic for digestion. If you buy a piece of ginger root, peel the skin, and just grate it into your dish. I have been putting ginger, coconut oil, and a little bit of garlic powder in brown rice, and then I top it with a lean meat and some veggies. It gives the meal that little something extra, and keeps the blandness away.
I know, I know – vanilla extract isn’t a spice or anything, but it is so yummy when you are looking for the creamy vanilla flavor. Putting just a little bit in coffee, oatmeal, or a smoothie can really liven it up a bit. Just watch out when you are pouring – you really don’t need much to benefit from the flavor!